Sunday, August 12, 2012

Nothing's ever easy

So here's how it went.  Legend is running fast.  When she's not refusing contacts.  Thursday, she refused I think the teeter?  It was about obstacle number three.  Friday we left early (I worked in the afternoon and she did not get to run standard).  Saturday she refused the A-frame twice (obstacle #5) and today she refused the dogwalk (#2) and the teeter (#6).  I'm at a loss.  I feel like this is becoming enough of an issue I need to do something about it but I'm not sure what.  We have tried more trials, less trials, more training, time off, etc.  I feel like this is totally a stress issue-she has always started slow and even though that has improved it has never gone away.  Plus the obstacle in question varies and it's always in the first part of the course-she gets faster and more confident as she goes along, plus she never refuses them at home.

I contemplated a plan all the way home.  I don't really want to take time off from trials because of getting her NATCH and wanting to go to NADAC champs next fall.  At least she can still Q in NADAC with the refusal.  I could at least take some time away from AKC and work on it.  Which would mean just running Lyric (assuming she starts doing all the obstacles) or not going at all.  I'd hate for Lyric to miss out on those AKC Q's but it would be so hard to be there and not run Legend!

Of course that still leaves me with the issue of how to fix it.  I wasn't even sure what to work on.  So I got to thinking about her contact performance at home (and when she does do them at at trial) and while she does not refuse them, she does usually either creep down and not really get her 2o2o or she totally blows her contact off.  Not exactly ideal.  So maybe her anxiety comes from not understanding what the criteria are?  At least it gives me something to try, and really something that needs worked on anyway.  Some of her trial dogwalk performances are painfully slow.  So my plan is to work running the boards fast separately from working the 2o2o and then start putting them together when she is doing them well.  Can't hurt anyway.  Other suggestions are welcome.

I also got to thinking if I'm going to work on "fixing" stuff maybe I will also give obedience another shot.  Maybe.

Oh, and she did run jumpers this weekend-Thursday she knocked a bar, Friday Q, Saturday wild with a few off courses, today one wrong tunnel entrance.

Lyric and I stumbled through Jumpers this weekend, I messed up some handling, she struggled with weave poles.  But today we pulled it together and even got a second place.

More training in store for both of them-lots to work on with two venues and multiple issues!  But cooler weather has arrived!


Diana said...

I think you maybe right about not have clear criteria. If you arent strick about what you want, then they creep or they just avoid the obstacale all together. It would make sense. Do you have any UKI trial in your area. They allow training in the ring.

Nicki said...

We do quite a bit of NADAC and they also allow training in the ring.

Karissa said...

UKI allows you to whip out a reward mid-run, though -- Is Legend a toy-motivated dog? I've thought about trying that with Secret, but I don't know that she'd play when she gets like that anyhow. She surprised the heck out of me when she tugged in the ring at a run-through.

I can sense your frustration -- I hope you come up with a plan soon. Unfortunately I have little to suggest aside from what you've already come up with. Maybe spending a little extra time doing NADAC would relieve the stress/pressure of the contact performances? Maybe it's just become too much of a stress issue for both of you.

Nicki said...

She is toy motivated-very much so! Is UKI the same as UKC? I've never heard of that one.

Karissa said...

Oh no. :o) UKI is Greg Derrett's invention, to bring UK Agility to the US. This means International style courses with International style challenges. Although the challenges in courses I've seen posted are a bit tamed down in difficulty than those I see on European courses. I've set a few of the low- to mid-range difficulty courses and they are a lot of fun.

UKI is full of great stuff. Similar to USDAA in games, but none of the stupid USDAA rules like judging upsides of contacts. You can turn any run into a training run by announcing you have a toy hidden on you, then use your entire course time to train.

I don't know how much is in your area. It's taking off very slowly. Around "here," the most trials are held up in Duluth, MN (over five hours) with the occassional trial in Minneapolis or over south of Milwaukee. You'd have to google to find a calendar (sorry, I'm on my phone and can't link for you).

Kathy said...

I like the idea of running the board and I know with my dogs playing the 2020 games, I shape them to do a 2020 on a box then we play getting into position, and then I practice running past it and then jump into position and wait for a release when we all have a fun game of tug or chase-it does seem to help with my dogs wanting to run into position-builds value for getting into position and makes going into position part of the criteria. I also like it because it does not carry any baggage from the actual object,. It great because you can stick that anywhere, I kept mine in the hall way, but it really has made my dogs dive into position. Also maybe if you are practicing backchainging starting from the side and hopping into position then a super fast release to chase something.. Do you have a cue for running really fast. I start with playing ball or frisbee with my dogs and start using a cue that means run really fast, that cue ends up getting them really excited and then I can use it on an obstacle or on course. ANYWAY those are some of the things I did when Cricket started creeping a bit, and those helped her.

Border Collie Mom said...

okay, I don't think it is necessary to mention this to you, but I would start with eliminating the possibility that the obstacle causes some sort of discomfort. Did anyone every get hurt on a contact obstacle at a trial? Is there any relationship between the type of surface and the ones that are refused? Once all that is eliminated, I would consider retraining contacts from the beginning. Lower your A-frame and dog walk for training and get them to race across it and have a party for fast speeds. Keep 2o/2o separate training for now. You might even want to give your 2o/2o a new name, and only practice that by loading up at the end, not running the entire obstacle.
I agree with you on the confusion... when we first started Time2Beat, I stopped asking for contacts and let Maggie run them. But rather than making her faster, she began slowing down and waiting for me to tell her what to do. I think she was afraid that if she ran them that I would ask for feet and she couldn't do it. It messed up our contacts for a long time and she has never regained her full speed. (Time2Beat=Evil)

Nicki said...

Thanks for all the good ideas. It does not look like we have UKI here but that would have been nice. Lori-we have eliminated all of those possibilities! Makes no difference on construction, surface, color, height, etc, etc. and I have not found anything wrong with her either. Well, not physically!